"Survival depends on closeness
Stay with your flock instincts tell you."

In her book, Elkins seamlessly fuses engaging narrative with traditional and experimental poetry that stem from morning walks in the awe-inspiring landscapes of New Mexico, later transitioning to experiences in Florida, the Sunshine State. Divided into four sections, the compilation’s first two parts are inspired by these two states. The third part focuses on the various stages of the speaker’s relationships, while the final section is a tribute to her mother.

Section One, “Coyote Poems,” establishes a refreshingly vibrant tone, filled with resplendent imagery of the Land of Enchantment that gives the coyote a seemingly humanistic quality. In “Imagine Conversations with Coyote,” the speaker explores the life and struggles from a coyote’s perspective. The authenticity of the poet’s observations is never more apparent than in “Sounds I Hear” and “Sounds I want to Hear,” poems that are entirely constructed in noun-verb pairs like “footsteps crunching” and which need to be read aloud for full effect. Elkins diverse skill set is reflected in “Ditch Walk Haiku Trilogy,” but it is the interpretation of her observations that is captivating. The narrative “Broken Leg Crane” is a must read that makes a direct path to the reader’s heartstrings, and demonstrates two of the most important themes of life: life is cyclical, and Mother Nature determines the rules; we must simply follow them.

In “The Sunshine State” (Section Two), poems like “The Porch” put Elkins’ ability to use repetition and personification on display. As the compilation progresses, the tenor of the poetry shifts away from nature and to more serious yet thought-provoking topics like “Thoughts on War” and “All a part of the Whole.” For poetry aficionados, every line of every poem in the author’s collection evokes emotion, holds purpose, and should be consumed delicately and in portions for full enjoyment.

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